Hotline sought to report wildlife violations

Muscat: Emotions were stirred as a videos of wildlife violations are being circulated on social media and requesting a hotline to report such actions. A video on social media showed torture of a captured sand fox and burning of nests was disturbing for many.

The Environment Authority stated that in cooperation with the Public Prosecution, the violators were identified and legal action is being taken. According to Nazar al Fannah, Director of Environment in North Al Sharqiyah, four people were involved in the wildlife violation which saw the torture of the fox and burning of nests. “The fox is found both in North and South Al
Sharqiyah. But sometimes people  try to capture the wild hares, Arabian gazelles and birds for consumption and even for selling them. We are here to protect the wildlife as per the rules,” said Al
Fannah.

According to the director of the environment, the accused said the fox was not killed and was released in another area. “We cannot take that word without proof and it is best the court handles it,” he said. Environment Ranger at Environment Authority, Ahmed al Hajri’s station is in North Al Sharqiyah and it is from there he patrols the mountains, plains and deserts to ensure safety to
wildlife as well as trees during day and night. He dealt with this recent case.

“The white fox can be found in Bidiya, behind Jaalan, and other parts of South Al Sharqiyah Governorate. The white fox is found in the deserts and the red fox is found in the mountains,” he said.
Social media users commented that there is a need to spread more awareness on nature conservation.

“Let us call on everyone to preserve wildlife so that they are safe and sustainable in their natural environment,” said a tweet from the Environment Authority.
The public took to social media and requested urgent need for a hotline to report wildlife violations.

Animal owners, however, say that fox, in general, is a threat to their goats and hens. “Animals are part of their livelihood,” they said.

“Persistent violations such as these can threaten wildlife and reduce wildlife diversity,” tweeted Hilal al Briki and added, “it could lead to the extinction of certain species.”
“Wildlife is national wealth that must be preserved and not be drawn into such irresponsible practices,” he pointed out.

Environmentalist and an expert on plants of Oman, Salim al Rahbi said, “I see red fox very often close to my house in Ibra and at night they can be heard. In the desert, it is the white fox – the sand fox. Farmers do have their concerns, but that cannot be rectified by killing the wild animals. People should invest in good stockade fence instead.”

“If there is a decrease in the number of wild animals, the ecological balance will be disturbed,” he noted.

The Arabian red foxes live in burrows and become active at night, which is when they hunt. According to some of the twitter users, people also look out for them at night even in the mountains. Al Hajar Mountains and the mountains of Dhofar are considered ideal habitats for them but very often they are seen in cities too. Wildlife in Oman is protected. In 1999 the sand fox got featured in Oman’s stamp. In 2021 it popped into the news due to wildlife violations but churned out immense support from people in general.